The Patronal Festivals: a forced ritual for those passing through Valle d’Itria

The patronal festivals in Puglia are a serious matter. Fabulous atmospheres, a kaleidoscope of colours, the unmistakable scent of candles, the splendour of songs, processional rituals and ancestral perfumes. Taking part in a patronal festival in Valle d’Itria is a unique experience and is a must be for anyone who decides to spend their holidays in this land.
This is why we cannot fail to advise you to experience the intense atmosphere of spirituality that characterizes our villages during popular events, letting you capture the festive joy that animates the squares.

The patron saints in Puglia are characterized by three elements that are always present. First of all the illuminations, a blaze of lights and colours, which create magical and surreal atmospheres. In Puglia the illuminations are luminous sculptures, real works of art, which reproduce drawings linked to religious motifs, facades of churches and typical decorative elements. 
Then there are the processions, which see the patron saint carried in triumph through the streets of the town by members of the brotherhoods who, with extreme devotion, carry out the ritual. 
Finally, the fireworks that take on multiple meanings within the celebration. On feast days sometimes there are shots fired already in the morning, to remember that it is a special day, and then there are the fireworks to indicate the beginning, the end or the passage in a particular place of a procession. Obviously the moment in which they become real protagonists is the show that usually takes place in the evening, at the conclusion of religious ritual, and then everyone with their heads turned upwards to admire those “shooting stars”, explosions of colours in the sky, able to do dream of adults and children. The Apulian masters are able to fascinate us with truly spectacular fireworks and fireworks! 

To experience an unforgettable experience in August, you can’t miss the most beautiful patron festivals in Valle d’Itria. 

Cisternino – “patronal festival of San Quirico and Giulitta” – 3rd – 5th August 2019 
According to an ancient chronicle, Quirico gained immense popularity in Cisternino after appearing during the plague of 1693, with a broom in hand intent on sweeping the epidemic away from the town. Since then mother and son were proclaimed heavenly patrons of the village, and celebrated with processions, fireworks and moments of meditation and sharing. During the first week of August, illuminations are set up throughout the village and, in addition to important religious events such as the solemn vigil that opens the festivities, Cisternino is animated by collateral cultural events, such as bands and concerts of contemporary music. But also it shows, craft markets and of course a lot of food. 

Locorotondo – “patronal festival of San Rocco” – August 14th -17th 2019 
Scheduled in the days before the festival of the saint, which falls on August 16th, includes a rich and varied program, where there are religious moments, sports initiatives and even a fair. What characterizes the festival of San Rocco are certainly two very important moments for the residents, and not only that, which also mark the beginning and the end of the party. The first is to attend the “Diana”, a sweet musical song that is played by a group of musicians during the night between August 15th and 16th until the first light of dawn in the old town. The sound of the Diana represents the real beginning of the patronal festival and although it sounds at dawn it is traditional to wait to wake up the passage of the band in the narrow streets of the historic centre. For some years the night between 15th and 16th August is also celebrated the Notte Bianca (White Night): musicians, acrobats and artists entertain visitors throughout the night accompanying them to the Diana. The second moment, which is precisely that of closing, is the traditional pyrotechnic competition: spectacular fireworks light up and colour the sky of the Itria Valley for an hour each year, attracting visitors and photographers from all over the world, at the stroke of midnight on August 16th

Ceglie Messapica – “patronal festival of San Rocco” – August 16th -17th, 2019 
The festival of St. Rocco, co-patron of the town, is a very heartfelt and participated feast, an unmissable event for all cegliesi, residents and relocators, who in August return for family holidays. The rich program, as tradition, is divided into a purely religious part, with religious processions on both days, and a more playful part with concerts, shows and fireworks. In particular we suggest you to attend the band concerts, of which Ceglie has a great tradition, and to admire, in Piazza Plebiscito, the beautiful sound box, a structure reminiscent of childish jousts, decorated with gilded friezes and coloured motifs so as to make it precious even during the day with the lights off. Obviously, you can’t miss the fireworks display that takes place at night between August 17th and 18th, around midnight. 

Ostuni – “patronal festival of Sant’Oronzo” – 25th -27th August 2019 
The festival of Sant’Oronzo is the most awaited and important festival of Ostuni. Also, in this case the ritual derives from the protection of the city from the plague by Sant’Oronzo. The highlight of the festival is precisely the ceremony – which more correctly should be called the cavalcade of devotees: a procession of horses and knights harnessed for a celebration, parading through the city streets in escort of the patron saint. The knight’s uniform is composed of: a red jacket, white trousers, and a hat with scarlet plume. Horses are Murgese, tall and mighty, and are also covered in red, which wrap them up to their hooves. The dressing of the knights is a ritual in which family members also participate, also because it is a role that is handed down from father to son, as well as the decorations and uniforms. The ceremony is held on the evening of August 26th, but the involvement of horses and riders is constant for the duration of the party, starting from the blessing of the horses up to the final awarding of the most beautiful horse. 

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